How to talk about finances and money in your relationship?
...A client of mine called me in tears saying she was confused and not sure what happened - suddenly her man started all those conversations about sharing outgoings and spending, and she isn't a poor lady - she clearly can afford my services, so surely, she can pay for herself AND him, too.
Sadly, her man was pretending in the beginning, and now she has to learn about her "real" man... It's hard to say what caused him to change so much, but her frustration is completely understandable. She feels let down.
You see, the situation here is very tricky....it's not about who is paying - it's about the world having changed so much that we haven't noticed how man's and woman's positions rotated! Men became more feminine, and women became masculine. So sad, but that's reality.
Years and years ago - the man was the head of the family, bringing the bread to the table and the woman was looking after the household and kids. She was officially a housewife. And THAT WAS FINE! Then... women decided enough was enough, “I want to be independent,” I don't want to ask every time I need money - I will EARN money! Men, of course, were against that because they always wanted to feel superior. But women were always too stubborn, so eventually they are where they are right now.
So, what is happening now?
Men realised this, a new TYPE of women, called COMFORTABLE is very handy!
So now they are looking for a young, intelligent, independent, interesting, hot woman who has a great career or business, is never bored and always happy, paying for herself and belonging only to him. Oh, I forgot to mention: she still has to be a housewife, cooking for him three times a day, not seeing friends any more - because now all her time should be spent only with this man - in front of the TV, watching football and most importantly, in silence! Oh and one more thing - when the man decides to have children, he is READY, it's the right age, etc. – the woman MUST leave all her hard-earned success and become a housewife and mom, STILL paying for all!... Nothing can be worse than being "old fashioned with modern views when it comes only about money."
HELLO, MEN - you are losing your reputation in our eyes! A woman wants to feel there is someone better than her, more successful and who can take care of her. Yes, we became independent, and we can pay for things, buy cars and properties, whatever. And women became even better in business - they are overtaking men! BUT....if she has to go half and half with everything, if she is not invited and looked after - it's called FRIENDS! In that case, men - keep your distance.
On the other hand - there are women, more than happy to be with feminine men - in that case, don't try to change each other. Just be very clear at the beginning of a relationship - how you both would like the financial situation to be in the future.
But one thing is certain - financial disagreements are killing romance and love. A man starts feeling like he is used - therefore he rejects the woman, and she stops respecting him - because she doesn't feel "weaker" anymore. In that case - there is no such a thing as "man is the head of the family" anymore because guess what, right now the woman is at the same level as you - so hey, move on man!
After working with this particular problem with so many couples - I worked out seven ground rules which will help you to build a stronger bond. It will be extremely useful, especially for those who haven’t had that awful conversation with the other half yet:
1. From the START of the relationship behave, do, and spend when it comes to money in the same manner as you would do five years later.
So, if your understanding is 50/50 - say so on date one. You can say graciously: "I am a strong believer in equality between genders". If you want "to show off" and spoil women - never mention going back to 50/50; just carry on paying. It's called "the price for showing off"! If you prefer paying in turns, both of you just say so, don't hope for the other person to guess! It's so easy with the phrase "next time you pay" to cover today's bill. In such a nice and diplomatic way for you to express how you expect things to be in the future. And you PREVENTED possible arguments.
2. Keep receipts of all expenses made together or for another person.
People tend to notice only what they do, what they spend and what they book. It's natural and obvious. And there is always one - very forgetful, so whenever there is an argument - just get those receipts out and say: look, I have spent XYZ. How much did you spend? Most likely the other half won't have any receipts (but certainly will start keeping them from now on!) - but it will open their eyes to the real situation and give you credibility. Just be prepared!
3. Decide from the start or as soon as possible will you have any future financial goals.
It can be buying a family home together, travelling, whatever - but it's important before the situation to have a conversation about it. Hence, both know what it will be like when approaching the right time to proceed with the goal. It will give you enough time to think about it, discuss it with family and friends, seek advice or just let the information settle.
4. Discuss your original family's financial situation.
Most likely your other half will be subconsciously copying his or her family "rules". Therefore, it's only understandable women being raised by a housewife mom and working dad most likely will expect the same from their new family. Of course, people are free to choose anyway and having this conversation will help you to understand your partner better and find your comfortable way: joint or separate account, who pays bills, etc. As long as both partners fee it is fair. Of course, you have to consider both incomes: if one earns half of their partner's income, both should agree on what is best for them. I think percentages always work the best. So, whether it is 40% each or 50% - you will feel that you are both investing the same amount of your income into household bills, groceries, entertainment, etc. Important tip: common savings!
5. Be open about debt, problems or issues.
Not telling is hiding and you’d rather be open and tell your other half about what is going on and why you cannot spend on entertainment than drag yourself into more debt or problems by being secretive.
6. Always give back whatever you borrowed.
If you are ever short of money and borrow from another half - no matter if it's a pound or a hundred - always give it back. Not taking it back - is another thing; your other half is free to decide not to take it back. But the fact you haven't offered to return the loan - will plant a seed of you using them. I am sure you don't want to look like that, so better remember and give back!
7. Always record and document extremely large or complicated deals between you + prenup!
When it comes to money, all of us want security and minimum risk. Don't borrow large sums, don't invest in businesses and don't pay off debts or mortgages unless you have relevant paperwork in place. I strongly believe in romantic love. However, life shows not all people are honest. If your other half is actually in trouble and you genuinely want to help him or her financially - nothing is wrong with signing the document and either agreeing on repayment or nothing at all.
Unfortunately, even the most romantic relationships end and only then, being ex-partners, do they start to "remind" each other about all the financial investments or situations they were going through as a couple. Let's put it this way - if the person in trouble is honest and is planning to return the money - will signing the document insult them? NO. If the person isn't - at least you secured yourself, and most likely the deal won't go through. And if your documented financial help was voluntary - in that case don't blame the other half for not repaying. And if you ever plan to get married - just sort out your prenuptial agreement and feel safe. Don't think about how cruel it is.
You insure your car "just in case" - so here is the same thing: you BELIEVE you will be together forever, but will you be? Life will show and then if worse comes to worst - at least you’re protected!
It doesn't matter what situation you are in now - please remember whatever suits you both - that's the main thing! There is no right or wrong; as many people are on the planet, that’s how many opinions will be out there... Life is way too short to spend hours on agreements, but preventing nasty arguments by being ready is always much better! Love and spoil each other for the best life experience together!